How Leaders Can Boost Their Confidence
Leadership is all about inspiring confidence in those around you and helping them meet their potential. Good leaders exude confidence and raise the energy in every room they enter.
However, many leaders face a confidence crisis at some point in their careers. Often, young leaders have to boost their own self-esteem before they can inspire those around them.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for leaders to improve their confidence and self-esteem.
Authentically confident leaders know how to get more from employees and can make a sluggish workplace feel dynamic and exciting. However, many leaders “fake” their confidence and end up taking on a leadership style more like Michael Scott than Bill Gates.
Truly confident leaders understand their role and share a few common characteristics of effective leadership:
- They accept and value critical feedback;
- They bring a positive mindset to each day;
- They’re open-minded and engage with new ideas;
- They respect staff and their time.
Developing these characteristics takes time and effort. Fortunately, leadership is a trait that can be developed over weeks, months, and years.
Confident leaders like Warren Buffet and Oprah Winfrey make leadership look easy. In reality, they’ve been working on leadership skills for decades and have built their confidence through practice and hard work. Aspiring leaders can learn from their example by actively boosting their confidence through self-compassion and by adopting a learner’s mindset.
True confidence happens when leaders are open to ideas and willing to learn. Rather than pretending to know everything, leaders should embrace the learner’s mindset and address their weaknesses and the gaps in their knowledge.
Start by addressing gaps in technical knowledge. Business leaders spend years developing their skills and broadening their horizons. Even industry leaders like Mark Zuckerberg spend hours every week just learning and refining their understanding of the industry they work in.
Next, consider building better soft skills. Soft skills are transferable and help leaders bond with those around them. The most important soft skills today include:
- Emotional Intelligence;
- Problem Solving;
- Conflict Resolution.
Developing these soft skills can improve leaders’ confidence and will serve them well for years to come.
Adopting the learner’s mindset is an important step towards more confident leadership. However, leaders will only thrive if they develop authentic self-esteem. This can be tricky, particularly if leaders already suffer from low confidence.
New leaders can cultivate greater self-esteem by setting realistic goals and practicing more positive self-talk. Working towards achievable goals is a great way to develop a “can do” attitude and start a track record of success.
Leaders can further improve their self-esteem by repeating positive mantras. The way leaders speak to themselves has a major impact on their overall confidence and negative self-talk can derail their efforts to improve their self-esteem. A few positive mantras can help leaders break a cycle of negative self-talk and alleviate the pressure they are feeling.
We all compare ourselves to people with better confidence, wealth, and health. However, unfavorable comparisons can derail a leader’s confidence and self-esteem.
Leaders can stop comparing themselves to others by focusing on their own unique skills and achievements. Instead of wasting energy on comparisons, leaders should focus on the challenges they are facing currently and how they will use their skills and experience to overcome them.
Hobbies and Interests
As a leader, it’s easy to become hyper-focused on work and forget that the rest of the world exists. However, true leaders have hobbies and interests outside of work that boost their confidence and help them destress. These hobbies can also be used to develop self-esteem and greater self-reliance.
The best hobbies to develop self-reliance usually involve some kind of challenge and offer participants the chance to improve. Hobbies like woodworking and painting are great examples of productive, confidence-building pastimes.
Practicing a hobby also makes leaders more likable to their followers. Likable leaders are genuine in their support of employees and get to know everyone on an individual basis. Discussing commonly held hobbies allows leaders to create meaningful connections that build their confidence.
Confidence comes more naturally to those who live a healthy, fulfilled lifestyle. Research suggests that good health leads to high self-esteem, as those who can maintain good health also report higher self-worth and practice affirming behavior.
Living a healthy lifestyle can also improve a leader’s self-image. Research shows that completing vigorous exercise 1 – 3 times per week has a positive impact on self-esteem across all demographics. Likewise, drinking enough water and eating healthier foods, and sleeping enough can boost confidence and improve mood regulation.
Confident leaders inspire their followers and raise the standard of every room they enter. However, many first-time leaders struggle with low confidence and self-esteem. Leaders can improve their confidence by repeating positive mantras and adopting a learner’s mindset. This can help leaders embrace a more optimistic mindset and ensure they put their best foot forward.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor